You are in for a treat!
Have business cards with you. A must, along w/ your seller's permit
(bring extra copies).
After you register at the first show you attend, pick up the
complimentary Tucson Show Guide, which is available at all of the
venues. Just ask a security person if you don't see it.
The listings in the Show Guide are enormous. You can accomplish a
lot and won't waste as much time if you map out your strategy. So sit
down w/ the Guide, look in the back section where products are listed
alphabetically. Mark the booths at corresponding shows (toward the
front all are listed by page no.) and hit the bricks.
Dress business casual at all venues; wear comfortable shoes; use a
back pack or over-the-shoulder bag that will hold your heavy Show
Guide and all of your purchases. Credit cards and cash, even checks
are good. Not much wheelin' and dealin' at Tucson. The vendors have
to make their cost of booth (expensive), travel (expensive), lodging
(very expensive), and meals. I do occasionally ask, "Respectfully, is
this a firm price?" Of course, w/ your seller's permit (which they
may want to see, even though you have registered) you will not pay
tax on goods; tools, yes, but gems, etc. no. Ask for business cards;
write on the card what you found there, the date and location (for
next year's reference). Make sure all receipts have all the info you
need and keep in plastic bag w/ your purchase. I bring extra little
plastic baggies and small permanent markers.
As for more shows to see, don't miss the Idar-Oberstein group at the
Hotel Arizona right downtown w/in walking distance of AGTA and GJX.
You will need to register at the hotel venue (has been in the back of
the hotel in the past years). There is a German group not to miss at
the Starr Pass (GLDA), also. Shuttle for Starr Pass is downtown at a
Mexican restaurant right near the Convention Center.
Try to get down to the Holidome at the Holiday Inn (down toward the
Those are the venues I wouldn't miss if you can only be there 3 days
and are looking for gems, etc.
Good luck and ENJOY!